Coconut oil Health Benefits, Uses, Quality & Best Products Compared

Author: Dr. Michael Tyler
Date: 01.10.2020
Reading time: 15:6 min

Coconut oil is one of the oils with the highest annual production in the world. It is used all over the world in a wide variety of areas of our life, whether natural medicine, cosmetics or industry.

Name Coconut Oil
Lat. Name Cocos nucifera
Synonyms Coconut, Coconut fat
Origin Asia, USA
Price per 10ml 3,45

The smell of coconut oil is very unique, and probably no other smell is as strongly associated with the tropics as that of coconut oil.

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Physical effect

Clear skin

The positive effect of coconut oil has been proven several times in various scientific studies. The oil works in several ways, and only the combination of the effects on the skin makes it an ideal home remedy. Its moisturising properties make the oil an excellent means of counteracting skin ageing.

Another positive property of coconut oil is its anti-inflammatory effect. Skin diseases such as acne and eczema are inflammatory in nature and this inflammation needs to be contained as soon as possible to give the skin a chance to recover. But coconut oil has even more to offer: with the lauric acid it contains, the oil is able to kill bacteria, viruses and fungi. These effects enable us to treat a wide range of skin ailments with coconut oil.

Acne and pimples

Many people suffer from inflammatory skin problems such as acne and pimples. Young adults in particular, or people with generally blemished skin, struggle with this problem. Since coconut oil has a strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect, it can also be used against acne and pimples. The oil not only fights the bacteria, but also the inflammation itself.

Beautiful hair

The oil has a moisturizing effect on the hair and stimulates the hair roots, which can effectively prevent hair loss.

The mechanisms by which coconut oil has a positive effect on the hair are very diverse. A well-known problem of hair is split ends, i.e. brittle hair ends. The causes of split ends can always be traced back to damage to the hair structure. Various environmental influences to which the hair is exposed can damage it. Heat and UV light in particular have a negative effect on hair. The ingredients in coconut oil can reduce or repair this damage to the hair structure.

Lip care

Our lips are one of our most sensitive parts of the body. Coconut oil covers our lips with a protective film that protects them from harmful external influences - such as wind. The moisturising effect it has is due to water molecules found within coconut oil which prevents dry lips.

A great advantage that coconut oil has over other lip care products is its longevity. Chemically produced lip care products are often absorbed very quickly and therefore have to be constantly reapplied. Coconut oil is not quickly absorbed and therefore lies on the lips for a longer period of time. It therefore protects and locks in moisture for longer. 

In addition, the oil is natural and free of any chemical additives. Coconut oil is mixed in with many lip balms, but in its pure form it can also bring excellent results in lip care.

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As a natural deodorant

Foul body odour is a widespread socially unaccepted problem in modern society. Chemical deodorants can help, but they also pose a variety of problems. The latest research has shown, for example, that the aluminum salts contained in deodorants have a high carcinogenic potential. In addition, the bacterial fauna of the skin is destroyed by chemical deodorants and the acidic pH value begins to fluctuate. Both make up the body's natural barrier against invading germs. Coconut oil is a popular alternative to chemical deodorants, because people associate its scent with holidays, the beach and the sea. Since coconut oil is neither acidic nor basic, it does not affect the pH value of the skin.

Make-up remover

Most of the ingredients in coconut oil are fat-soluble, making the coconut oil a very good and, importantly, natural alternative to conventional make-up removers. The oil not only removes make-up, but also cares for the skin.  

Natural UV protection

Various ingredients in coconut oil create a natural barrier between sunlight and the skin. Compared to conventional sun creams, the oil has other advantages: The sun protection factor in commercial creams comes from chemicals that can negatively effect health. Moreover, scientists recently found that sunscreens are often very harmful to many aquatic organisms. Coconut oil is able to protect our skin from about 20% of UV light. This corresponds to a sun protection factor of 15-20.

 

Foot care

Often times, the skin on our feet cannot breathe through our shoes, we sweat and bacteria cause unpleasant foot odour. Since coconut oil has strong antibacterial properties and cares for the skin, it is ideal for taking care of our feet. It kills the bacteria causing the odour and cares for skin irritated by sweat.    

Psoriasis and eczema

Neurodermatitis is an extremely unsightly and, unfortunately, painful skin condition. Those affected suffer from severe itching and as a result scratch the skin on many affected areas. This often leads to painful inflammation as a result.

This is where the nourishing and anti-inflammatory effects of coconut oil come into play. If the affected skin areas are massaged with coconut oil, the skin is automatically cared for and the itching subsides. It also successfully combats inflammation.

Eczema is a skin problem for which no effective treatment has been found to date. Those affected suffer from extremely dry areas of skin that can easily break open. Coconut oil is also unable to cure eczema, but the affected areas of the skin can be well cared for thanks to the oil's moisturising effect. With usage of coconut oil, the skin is less flaky and breaks open much less often.

Cellulite

Cellulite is an undesirable and unsightly problem for women in particular. This phenomenon, is caused by water retention in the connective tissue under the skin, which gives the skin a structure that is very similar to that of oranges. Coconut oil has a strong astringent effect - which means it makes your skin tighter. It is absorbed into the deeper layers of the skin and helps to counteract the unaesthetic appearance.

Consumption | Internal effect

Coconut oil has pronounced antibacterial and antiviral properties, making it an excellent tool to fight invaders of the body.

Due to evolution, the body is very capable of fighting bacteria and viruses on its own. But over time, these microorganisms have also found ways to protect themselves. Bacteria have a protective layer of fat that can be dissolved by the lauric acid contained in coconut oil. However, lauric acid cannot be produced naturally by our bodies.

It must therefore be supplied in the diet. Coconut oil is an effective and natural source of lauric acid for the body. Its antibacterial effect has already been established in several studies. For example, Dr. H. Thormar's study published in the US National Library of Medicine in 1999. The antiviral effects of coconut oil were also proven in this study.

Oil pulling with coconut oil for detoxification

Oil pulling is an ancient method used to detoxify the body. It has its origins in Ayurvedic medicine and is widely used in India. The principle of oil pulling is based on the fact that many poisons in the body are only fat-soluble and can therefore only be excreted with difficulty. Pulling oil entails putting about a tablespoon of coconut oil in the mouth immediately after getting up and stirring the oil back and forth between your teeth for about 15 minutes.

Coconut oil absorbs the fat-soluble toxins from the oral mucosa and binds them. Then the oil is not swallowed, but rather spat out together with toxins. When pulling oil, particular care should be taken not to rinse out the mouth with water beforehand and not to swallow the saliva before pulling oil, so that the oil can actually absorb all the toxins that have accumulated on the gums overnight.

Oil pulling is not only used to detoxify the body, but is also a very good prevention against tooth decay. In theory, any type of oil can be used for oil pulling, but coconut oil is the first choice because of its ingredients. It contains 2 different fatty acids that have strong antibacterial effects. This property kills bacteria that cause gum disease. Moreover, the risk of cavities and other problems in the oral cavity, such as inflammation of the gums, are reduced to a minimum. To use oil pulling as a preventative against tooth decay, it is necessary to do it once in the morning and once in the evening. According to the latest research, coconut oil can also whiten the teeth. 

Dementia and Alzheimer's

It is believed that dementia and Alzheimer's occur because glucose is poorly processed in the brain. Modern drugs often alleviate the symptoms of those affected, but a cure is still not possible. Coconut oil is also unable to cure dementia and Alzheimer's. However, it has been proven to reduce the severity of symptoms. Although the oil does not replace taking medication, it can have a supportive effect. In countries where coconut oil is regularly on the menu, these diseases are much less common. The oil seems to be effective not only against the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's, but also preventive against these diseases.

Diabetes

Coconut oil has some very powerful effects for diabetics. People with diabetes have faulty pancreases, which is responsible for the production of insulin. This hormone is responsible for breaking down sugar in the body. If there is not enough insulin, blood sugar level rises dramatically. Since coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, it is very helpful for diabetics. The body does not need glucose to break down these fatty acids, which means that the pancreas' natural insulin production is not overworked.

Weight loss

Coconut oil is a very good alternative to losing weight by eating less. The reason for this is the special fats contained in coconut oil. From a biochemical point of view, these represent nothing other than carbohydrates that are bound to glycerine. Our body splits these carbohydrates from the glycerine and then breaks them down into sugars, which in turn are converted into energy by cells.   The carbohydrates contained in the fats of coconut oil are of medium length and can be broken down directly by the body and converted into energy. They are not suitable for creating fat deposits. As a result, the body does not receive the signal of a food shortage and accesses the fat deposits instead of the muscles in order to gain energy. This effect of coconut oil was impressively demonstrated in a large study of young women, essentially, indicating that it promotes fat reduction.

Dogs, cats and horses

Coconut oil is not only extremely healthy for us humans, our pets also benefit from the outstanding properties of the oil. Since coconut oil is completely free of side effects, it can be used in dogs, cats or horses, just as it is in humans.

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Sore throats and colds

Sore throats can have a wide variety of causes, but are often bacterial or inflammatory in nature. The substances lauric acid and caprylic acid contained in coconut oil have strong antibacterial effects and can therefore counteract the causes of sore throats when the oil is taken orally.  

Herpes

While coconut oil cannot remove the virus from our bodies, it is able to prevent the virus from spreading. By applying coconut oil directly to cold sores, the liquid contained in the sore is disinfected by the antibacterial effect of the lauric acid and the virus cannot spread any further.

Mosquitoes

Coconut oil is an excellent remedy for pesky insects such as mosquitoes. Scientists have been able to prove that mosquitoes cannot stand the smell of lauric acid contained in the oil. The oil is therefore excellent for repelling the attacks of the little pests.

Ticks

According to the latest research, the lauric acid contained in coconut oil is a very effective remedy against ticks. Studies have shown that ticks avoid areas of skin that have been massaged with coconut oil. Should the little beasts bite into the aforementioned areas, they will fall off again within a very short time, as the lauric acid has an extremely toxic effect on them. Coconut oil can not only be used in humans, our pets are also grateful for a treatment with coconut oil in the event of tick infestation.

Mites, lice and fleas

Like ticks, mites, lice and fleas are known to transmit diseases. Combating these parasites is difficult, but possible, with coconut oil. The lauric acid contained in the oil is not only effective against the mature animals, but also against the eggs. However, it is necessary to repeat the treatment in order to actually destroy every single egg.

Worms

Worm infestation is a problem that is often undiscovered for many people, and stays with them for decades. Coconut oil is able to kill these worms and help the body recover from worm infestation. The dead worms are then either digested or excreted.

Application & use

Coconut oil is used in many care products for external use, but can also be used wonderfully in its pure and natural form. When buying coconut oil, you should make sure that you only buy a natural oil that comes from controlled organic cultivation. The oil should not have been hardened or changed by chemical additives. Since coconut oil has no side effects, the dosage for external use is irrelevant.

Coconut oil has a firm consistency at room temperature and should therefore be warmed slightly with the palms of the hands before applying it to the skin. You will feel a slightly cooling effect when you apply it to your skin.

If you want to use coconut oil against parasites such as fleas, lice or mites, you can also use it pure. However, it is necessary to apply the oil several times a day and over a longer period of time in order to achieve the desired effect. For internal use against various health problems, it is enough to take a teaspoon of coconut oil daily. However, since the oil is free of side effects - even when used internally - this dose can also be increased. Coconut oil can only cause mild diarrhoea in sensitive people and at extremely high doses, but it disappears again within a very short time.

However, this oil is less suitable for use as a fragrance oil in a fragrance lamp, since the ingredients in the oil are not easily volatile and therefore the oil will carbonize if it is heated strongly.

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In the kitchen

Coconut oil has a wide range of uses in cuisine. It serves as a heatable fat that, unlike animal fats, produces few toxins when heated. Similar to butter, coconut oil has a solid consistency at room temperature, but becomes liquid when heated slightly. This makes it ideal for frying, baking, and deep-frying. When melting, the oil absorbs a lot of heat due to its high density, which has a cooling effect in the mouth.   

In cosmetics

Coconut oil has an extremely high proportion of lauric acid. It is therefore also one of the so-called lauric oils. The properties of this substance are the basis for the manufacture of shampoo and creams. Coconut oil has a moisturizing and, especially, cooling effect on the skin. It is also used as a natural defense against a number of pesky insects.

In technology and industry

Coconut oil is also used in a wide variety of areas in industry. The fatty acids produced during refining, for example, are used in the manufacture of synthetic resins, insecticides and medicines. The oil is also used to make soaps and candles. In Southeast Asia, the importance of coconut oil as a source of biodiesel is increasing. This use of coconut oil is particularly widespread in the Philippines.

Manufacturing

Coconut oil is one of the most widely used oils in the world and its annual global production is over 4 million tons. The oil is extracted from the pulp of the coconut. For this purpose, the pulp is first dried and then pressed. You only need 3-4 kg of dried pulp to produce 1 liter of coconut oil.

Ingredients

Coconut oil consists of over 98% fats that contain unsaturated fatty acid residues. These fatty acids break down as follows:  

  • Lauric acid 44-52%
  • Capric acid 6-10%
  • Caprylic acid 5-9%
  • Myristic acid 5-13%
  • Palminic acid 8-11%
  • Stearic acid 1-3%
  • Oleic acid 5-8%
  • Linoleic acid 0-1%  

    History

    The coconut has been planted in the Malay archipelago for over 3000 years. However, the plant only gained greater importance when the Dutch exported the coconut palm to Sri Lanka and cultivated it there. Coconut oil production has more than doubled since 1980. A large part of the worldwide annual production is consumed in the countries of origin, the rest is exported in various forms. Coconut oil now covers 2% of the world's vegetable oil needs.  

    Botany

    The coconut palm has its original range in the tropical zones of Southeast Asia. The plant grows up to 30 meters high and has a lifespan of up to 120 years. The palm consists of a single trunk at the top of which there are leaves 3-7m long. They are feathered and extremely flexible.

The reason for this is that the plant sometimes has to withstand strong storms. The coconut water contained in the coconut serves to protect the seeds from drying out and is often an important substitute for drinking water in the coconut palm growing areas.

Cultivation

The coconut palm is one of the most important oil-producing plants in the world. It is grown in the tropical belt between the 26th parallel of the northern and southern hemisphere. However, the main growing area is still the Southeast Asian region. The coconut palm is a very sensitive plant and has high demands: On the one hand, it loves warmth and needs an average annual temperature of 27 degrees for germination, whereby the average temperature of the coldest month must not be below 20 degrees.

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